Stay Tuned!

Changes coming for the New Year! You see some of them already! Let’s hear it for 2011!

Everyone have a safe weekend. Drive safely…and remember to line up your designated drivers now!


2010 Wrap Up

First off, thanks to everyone who has commented and dropped by this year. I hope you found something to entertain you!

2010 was a pretty kickin’ year for me. The bestest bit was finishing all the classes required for my B.A. Yay for being done with school!

My other biggie-happy was Nathan Bransford’s teen writing contest. Aside from participating with a bunch of super-talented writers, it got me going on a short story…I’ll let you know how that goes. (And thanks to Rowena for the turn-it-into-a-short idea.)

Let’s see…I also got a lot of words down (let’s hear it for writing marathons). I read a lot of books–and not all of them for school too! Critiques were finished on time (mostly).

Yep, all in all, I’d call it a successful year.

How’s about you? Did you get most of what you wanted done? Did you accomplish something that surprised you? Give me the good dish!

The Animal Angle

I dont’ think anyone can talk about Rita Mae Brown’s work fairly without discussing the “animal angle.”

I’ve never written a story or a novel from the POV of an animal. Mostly because I, personally, have never been inspired to do so. However, Rita Mae Brown has made quite a lucrative career from writing from the POV of a cat.

This can be seen in the literary realm (as opposed to the genre arena of cozy mysteries, etc.) as well–some of the bestest-best sellers of recent years have had, at least partially, the POV of an animal: The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Dogs of Babel, Dog Gone It, etc.

The challenge presented by this creative style is obvious: we don’t know how animals think, so how can we, as humans, possibly narrate convincingly? Brown is surrounded by animals day in and day out. She lives on a farm and is, therefore, familiar with animal behavior. This experience is reflected in her work–with lots of focus on smells, etc.

I think Brown has hit on the answer for this creative dilemma. If you’re going to write from the POV of an animal, then you better darn well observe that animal. And not just on Animal Planet. The movement, the engagement, the habits, and (ahem) the smell of the animal is something that should be witnessed in person.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!

I hope you all have a healthy, safe weekend. Drink lots of cocoa and give and receive lots of hugs.

And try to avoid:

The Seasonal Series Perk

Throughout the year there are these things called “Holidays.” Let’s see: the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and on and on it goes. Yep, there are holidays all over the place.

A perk to writing any series, not just a cozy mystery series, I would assume, would be the seasonality of stories. For example, the book I’m reading now, Santa Clawed, is set around Christmas. So author Rita Mae Brown can get into the holiday spirit a little more than an author who is writing a stand-alone kinda thing. She can utilize characters that she’s already attached to and create a story around them that still lets her celebrate whatever time of year she’s writing about.

I know–just because a story is about Christmas doesn’t mean it wasn’t written in July. (Were there enough double negatives in that last sentence?) It also doesn’t mean that, as an author trying to build a ‘stable’ of novels, that if you’re writing around Valentine’s Day you should ignore the possibilities of that romantic-al-est time of year. Then whenever the publisher needs something timely–VOILA! You have produced.

And here is Rita Mae Brown her-own-self talking about Santa Clawed:

The Bonus Tracks

Back to cozy-time!

Finished reading Murder Most Frothy, and this is my favorite type of cozy to read, I’ve decided. Do you want to know why? Let me tell you why:

The Bonus Tracks!

At the back of the book is a list of coffee-making tips and recipes. Awesome. In the spirit of both the holiday season and the idea that cozies also give us extra stuff…see below for Jenny (with Bronwen as her Big Helper) participating in the bonus track of “Flourless Kahlua Chocolate Cake”:

The Ingredients:

The Process:

The results? A smashing, yummy-full cake that is now in the fridge cooling off. Judging from the smells…a chocolate lover’s delight.

**A side note on the importance of clarity in the bonus tracks:

Nowhere is clear, concise language more necessary than in directions. If a recipe calls for a specific item, or a specific method, it is very important that those directions be understandable. Especially regarding things like food. One typo could potentially poison your reader. So be careful!

Last Day of School

The holiday season begins in earnest now. Shane (teacher) and Owen (student) are both out of school today. There’s only one week left!

And a shot of our Christmas tree to help pass the holiday spirit along. Good luck everyone!

**Technical difficulties repaired! Voila, my tree:

How are you guys hanging in there?